I for one, was very happy for that stretch of the third period without a whistle. It made the end of the game come that much quicker, and yes, for all the griping I have done in the past few days on Twitter, Facebook, Rink Side Rants, and here; I made it not only all the way through the game, but managed to write this article post-game as well.
It might be the coffee I drank, or the energy I got from the Sabres finally playing a complete game, but I might end up pulling an all nighter – who are we kidding; I will be in bed and asleep moments after this is published.
Despite the fact that the Buffalo Sabres are playing short one forward and plus one defensemen – they were not skating like they were in the middle of a West coast trip halfway through the season. I was primarily happy with tonights effort against the San Jose Sharks – but have a few notes to add about the game.
1) My thoughts on Ryan Miller stand despite his performance tonight. I still did not see the Vezina winning trophy winner in the crease for the Buffalo Sabres. What I saw was a good goaltender that got a lot of support from the team in front of him; and had to make some good saves on good scoring chances, but had to make impressive looking saves because of the rebounds he had given.
2) Buffalo’s defense played lights out tonight, with some exceptions. Shaone Morrisonn. He had a couple of fine moments, he tipped a puck away to prevent on odd man chance late, and he recovered from a huge hit behind the net to lay one of his own. Other than those two plays; I am still not impressed with the Sabres free agent signing. He did however did more than Craig Rivet – the “captain” of the team. Mike Weber’s fight. It did what it had to do, it energized his team, got them a goal – despite the fact that he barely got free. While the fight had the right effect on the team, it could have easily gone the other way.
Andrej Sekera played probably one of the best games I have seen him play in awhile. He fought battles, he cleared pucks – this was not the same Sekera that started the year.
While you couldn’t say the Buffalo Sabres offense was killer tonight – they scored where they needed to – and did it with style. My only black mark of the offense is, well what has come to be the bitter disdain of every writer on this site – Tim Connolly. I don’t know if it was injuries before that was holding his game up, and now the different view of the game from behind his plastic face shield, but it seems every shot Tim Connolly takes hits the goaltender in the crest, or goes high and wide.
Two games into their road trip, the Buffalo Sabres have already grabbed half the points – obviously a positive when your away from home, the Sabres could really use two more points against the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night in Pheonix.
If you were one of the few to remain awake for the entire game, as the clock ticked closer to midnight and the wee hours of the morning, the seats began to empty and Sabres fans began to outnumber San Jose fans in the crowd. I would not be surprised to see the same thing in Pheonix on Saturday – except it will be the start of the game where it will be noticeable, not the end of the game with the home squad trailing by what seems to be an insurmountable goal.
Despite being in uniform, it baffles me why Craig Rivet is still captain of this team, let alone still on the team. His ice time tonight was a mere 3:01 tonight. While that was not the worst, as Brandon Mashinter logged a whopping 2:13 – you have to wonder why they are dressing him as the “extra” defensemen and going without another forward – when everyone else on the team is getting around 10, 15, or 20 minutes a game.
An interesting quote I read online earlier today joked that the reason the Canadian national team at the World Juniors lost in the gold medal game was because they let the Sabres finish the game for them was funny at the time, now the punchline should read more What’s the difference between San Jose fans and Russian hockey players? How about the pride in realizing that at 3-0, the game is never over.